I hate intolerance. I hate classism, racism,
intolerance, and sexism that prevents people from flourishing and making
the world a better place. This said, expressing moral and religious
convictions is not intolerance. Pointing out basic anthropology is not
intolerance. Permitting a range of lifestyles does not mean I am
compelled to promote every moral choice someone makes. I want for all
others the rights I desire for myself.
Agitators: refute the voices you despise with peaceful debate and solid ideas instead of harassment and violence. If Vice President Pence, Candace Owens, and Ben Shapiro are wrong, prove their thoughts inadequate instead of libeling and shutting down debate. By the way, will you apply your same standards to haters like Farrakhan and imams pronouncing fatwas on apostates? While you attack tradition, will you speak for the thousands of Christians, atheists, Zoroastrians, Hindus and Buddhists killed by folks that want a caliphate? (Not to mention the oppression of women and chattel slavery in these cultures). Are you going to protest outside of every halal baker and orthodox deli?
If we cannot find the character and maturity for free debate and civil discourse, our experiment on true liberty will end and Orwell’s nightmare will be upon us.
Conservative or liberal, cisgender or LGBTQIA+, religious or secular – we have a common interest in true liberty rooted in love and respect, hearty debate, and living peacefully with our deepest differences. If anarchy reigns, authoritarianism is waiting to pounce.
North American Christianity needs a baptism of tears.
Instead of polarized invective that tears up apart, we need the tears of divine empathy to unite our hearts. The God of the Bible weeps and laughs, grieves deeply and dances with joy (Jeremiah 8-9; Zeph. 3; Luke 10, 19). Imagine our conversations with God and each other if we experience a baptism of tears:
We will weep deeply as we confront the racism and shed joyful tears as forgiveness triumphs over retaliation. We will weep, hearing the cries of creation as humans despoil the earth and we will cry aloud with delight as gospel hope inspires ecological healing.
We weep in intercession for our neighbors lost without Christ and shed tears of joy as converts are baptized and prodigals discover Abba Almighty waiting for them.
We will weep when a sister or brother suffers and find our eyes moist when healing flows.
This baptism of tears purges hubris and hypocrisy from our hearts. Tears will inspire love for enemies as we realize their need of grace.
Billy Graham’s recent passing way at age 99 stirs up deep emotions as I consider the impact of his preaching and service. In addition to billions hearing the gospel and millions converted, thousands of leaders were trained and millions more helped with compassion outreach.
Along with John Stott, Graham is the founder of the Lausanne Movement, a global evangelical network that is dedicated to evangelization and human flourishing in the kingdom. In just over 40 years, we have seen a shift in global Christianity from “the West to the rest” to ministry now being “from everywhere to everywhere” and the majority of Christians residing in non-Western nations.
As he reflected in an interview with Diane Sawyer on his life and ministry he said, “I wish I would have done more about race.” This from a man who integrated his meetings and lost friends as he rightly rejected racism and segregation. He also regretted the lack of time with his family and proper self-care…what humility for a world leader!
A voice of my lifetime, bearing witness to grace and truth. our best tribute? Faithful service and witness in all I do. And continually growing in kindness, love and wisdom. May we begin every encounter with every person with love and respect. The Cross welcomes all and when the Holy Spirit is working, there is a new sociology.